Although every attempt has been made to keep this copy of 322 CMR accurate and up to date, this is an “unofficial” copy. The official copy is maintained by the Secretary of State and may be purchased from the state bookstore. For more information on ordering a copy of 322 CMR go to http://www.sec.state.ma.us/
Recreational Finfish Regulations
*Note: These regulations apply to state-waters only. Please click here for federal-waters recreational fishing regulations.
|Species||Season||Size Limit||Possession Limit|
|American Eel (1)||January 01–December 31||9 in.||25 fish|
|Billfish and swordfish (2)||Federal rules apply. Consult NOAA Fisheries for bilflish and swordfish.|
|Black Sea Bass ^(3)(8)||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Bluefish||January 01–December 31||No Limit||10 fish|
|Cod Cod ^(4)(5) (North of Cape Cod file size 1MB)|
|Private||January 01–December 31||19 in.||1 fish|
|Cod Cod (4)(5) (South of Cape Cod file size 1MB)||January 01–December 31||22 in.||10 fish|
|Dab (Plaice) (4)(5)||January 01–December 31||14 in.||No Limit|
|Gray Sole (Witch) (4)(5)||January 01–December 31||14 in.||No Limit|
|Haddock Haddock ^(4)(5) (North of Cape Cod file size 1MB)|
|Private||January 01–December 31||17 in.||15 fish|
|For-Hire||May 01–February 28 & April 15–April 30||17 in.||15 fish|
|Haddock Haddock (4)(5) (South of Cape Cod file size 1MB)||January 01–December 31||18 in.||No Limit|
|Halibut (4)(5)||January 01–December 31||41 in.||1 fish|
|Monkfish (4)(5)||January 01–December 31||No Limit||No Limit|
|Ocean Pout (4)(5)||Prohibited|
|Pollock (4)(5)||January 01–December 31||No Limit||No Limit|
|Redfish(4)(5)||January 01–December 31||No Limit||No Limit|
|Private||May 01–December 31||10 in.||30 fish or 150 fish/vessel if 5 or more anglers are aboard|
|For-Hire Bonus||May 1–June 30||10 in.||45 fish|
|For-Hire Regular||July 01–December 31||10 in.||30 fish|
|Merrimack River||January 01–December 31||No Limit||3 fish|
|Connecticut River||January 01–December 31||No Limit||3 fish|
|Other Rivers||January 01–December 31||No Limit||Catch and Release Only|
|Sharks** (excludes spiny dogfish)||Refer to Shark Section. Full regulations at|
|Smelt||June 16–March 14||No Limit||50 fish|
|Spiny Dogfish||January 01–December 31||No Limit||No Limit|
|Striped Bass (6)||January 01–December 31||28 in.||1 fish|
|Tautog||January 01–December 31||16 in.||3 fish|
|Tunas (7)||Federal rules apply. Consult NOAA Fisheries|
|Weakfish||January 01–December 31||16 in.||1 fish|
|White Perch||January 01–December 31||8 in.||25 fish|
|Winter Flounder (4)(5) (North of Cape Cod file size 1MB )||All Year||12 in.||8 fish|
|Winter Flounder (4)(5) (South and East of Cape Cod file size 1MB )||March 01–December 31||12 in.||2 fish|
|Yellowtail Flounder (4)(5)||January 01–December 31||13 in.||No Limit|
^ Recreational fishing limits are to change in 2017. Changes will be announced during the spring of 2017.
1) Subject to regulation by the Division and the municipality. Please consult municipal regulations.
2) All billfish species and swordfish are measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the tail fork. These species are managed by NOAA's Highly Migratory Species Office. Please consult NOAA Fisheries for permitting requirements and regulations.
5) It is unlawful to fish with hook and line gear in the Winter Cod Conservation Closure from November 15 through January 31. It is unlawful to take cod from the Spring Cod Conservation Closure from April 16 through July 21.
6) Striped bass are measured from the tip of the snout or jaw (mouth closed) to the farthest extremity of the tail. The discard of dead legal sized striped bass is unlawful. The practice of high-grading, whereby legal sized striped bass are released in favor of larger fish caught subsequently is unlawful. Accordingly, it is also unlawful to keep a striped bass alive in water by attaching a line or chain to the fish (stringer), or placing it in a live well or holding car. Striped bass must be kept whole, meaning the head, tail, and body remain intact. Only evisceration is allowed. Permitted for-hire vessels may fillet striped bass for their customers.
8) Black sea bass and scup may be filleted but not skinned while at-sea. No more than two fillets per allowed fish may be possessed.